Monday, June 29, 2009

logging miles in the hot sun (training notes 06-29-09)

i have not been on a bike since Ironman New Zealand 2008. which means i literally have not mounted the saddle and shoes, pulled on the helmet and gloves, or even touched the frame and chain in the space of the last 16 months.

bad, i know, especially considering that i'm supposedly doing Ironman Utah 2010.

while i have been keeping up a schedule of running, swimming, and general physical activity, i'm pretty sure that nothing i've been doing is anywhere near sufficient for any hopes of a break-through performance next year...or anytime in the near future.

with this in mind, i made a conscious commitment this past Sunday (yesterday) to doing a dedicated bike ride in the morning, and follow it up with a decent run in the evening. given my current fitness level, and the fact that i was coming off a vacation of zero (well, apart from some mountain hiking, zero) physical exertion, i decided to keep with what i thought to be some moderate numbers: 42 miles on the bike and 6 miles on the run.

uh, well...that was a bit of an underestimation on my part.

what i'd taken to be moderate actually turned out to be a bit of an effort.

it was pretty much all i could do to just keep up a constant 16 mph on the bike to stay with my riding buddy (who i ended up relying on to pace me). my legs did not feel comfortable (a little bit more tense than i'd expected). nor, for that matter, did the bike (pretty much training wheels time all over again in terms of handling skills). and my butt felt like it had taken a horse-kick straight to the tail (i was so sore i could barely sit straight in the saddle).

yeah, it was hot and i was short on water, with temps in the 90s and me with just 1 bottle. but i don't take that as an excuse. based on how i felt, my conditioning on the bike is just pathetic.

the best way i can describe it is to paraphrase the song:
logging miles in the hot sun
i fought the law and the law won
incidentally, this was the soundtrack in my head pulling me through this ride...especially the opening lines of the original (i'll show the version by the Clash):

The Clash, I Fought the Law

oh, i made the ride fine. that's not the issue. the issue(s) is(are):
  1. this time last year this would have been an easy ride. as in laughable.
  2. i was expending too much effort muscle-wise to be going at just 16 mph. just too much.
  3. i was not comfortable in the cockpit. even going straight. and i don't think i could have stayed in it much beyond the ride we covered.
  4. i'm going to need to be doing a whole lot more in about 10 months.
i take comfort in the fact that it was the 1st ride in a looooooooong time, that i'm essentially starting a base-building phase, making the speed and distance consistent with the training schedule, and the handling skills and cockpit comfort should come with time...and i do have some time.

but i was so disconcerted after the ride that i actually looked forward to the afternoon run--essentially an opportunity to redeem myself and restore my bruised psyche. of course, the run wasn't entirely comfortable, given the heat, and i had to walk a good number of times to address hydration issues. but it went a whole lot better than the bike ride.

i think i'm just going to have to log miles. when it comes to training, especially on the bike, there's just no way around it. i have to log miles. i've heard pros and coaches say this consistently, and i consider it very much true...not just because it conditions physical output and builds performance, but also because it acclimates your comfort level with an environment that you have to deal with for extended periods of time (hours upon hours). and over the course of an Ironman, the comfort level ends up being crucial to output and performance.

i'm just going to have to commit to logging miles.

starting (literally) from yesterday.

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